Committing a Crime in the Great Outdoors
If like most other people you spend more time outdoors in the summer, it’s relatively easy to run afoul of various laws related to outdoor recreational activities. Whether you’re camping or fishing, venturing out on a hiking trip or picnicking at a local park, there are a number of regulations and laws you can
inadvertently violate, resulting in fines and perhaps even arrest.
Earlier this year, a man who had released 12 heart-shaped helium balloons over Dania Beach was charged with a third-degree felony related to a statute protecting the environment. And while few are charged under that particular statute, there are a number of others that catch people unawares. They include the following:
Littering laws. ‘Litter’ encompasses a broad range of items, including wrappers you neglect to throw out after a night of camping or old furniture improperly dumped. In general, it’s illegal to toss litter from your car, dump it along various public thoroughfares (including alleys), or dispose of it in lakes, rivers, canals, or coastal waters. Penalties for littering aren’t always criminal in nature, though depending on what you toss out (and how hazardous it is), where you toss it out, and how much of it you get rid of, you may find yourself facing a criminal charge.
Hunting and fishing regulations. There are numerous regulations and laws governing hunting and fishing. Various animals, locations, and times of day may be entirely off-limits. You need to make sure you have the relevant licenses or permits. Using a gun increases the risk of serious injury and death, opening you to an array of charges. In many cases, someone who has been previously convicted of a felony may hunt only with a bow or crossbow, or with a gun classified as ‘antique’; possessing other types of firearms would be illegal.
Trespassing. Whatever recreational activity you’re enjoying, be sure not to cross without permission onto private property (particularly if you have weapons on you, such as a hunting knife or gun). Generally, criminal charges are leveled at people who are thought to trespass ‘willfully,’ especially if they are doing so stealthily or with the intention to commit some crime; given that there are plenty of gray areas in regards to intent, someone without malicious intentions may still face serious legal problems.
Boating violations. Failing to register your boat and operate it with a license, using the boat in a reckless way that endangers people and wildlife, and getting in the way of other vehicles’ navigation, could all result in criminal charges depending on the circumstances.
If in the course enjoying outdoor recreational activities you break certain laws, you may need to consult with the Ayo and Iken criminal defense team to fight against stiff fines and potential jail time. Even people who do their best to follow existing laws and regulations may unintentionally perpetrate a crime or be charged with one improperly. Reviewing your case with an experienced attorney is crucial.